Morning Five: 06.26.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 26th, 2012

  1. It’s NBA Draft week around the basketball world, the last blast of hoops hysteria of the year before we all wander off as wayward and lost souls into the hot summer months. We have a number of draft-related posts scheduled this week to supplement our ongoing series of draft profiles, but we started things off yesterday with a quick analysis of the unpredictability of the draft through the exercise of re-picking a few select drafts from the last decade. The moral to the story here is basically that it’s very difficult to project the careers of “can’t miss” prospects 10 years out, much less the marginal ones. A few of the notable names that scouts never saw coming were Stephen Jackson, Isaiah Thomas, DeAndre Jordan and Monta Ellis — CNNSI‘s Sam Amick takes a look at five collegians now projected as second rounders who he believes could exceed expectations in the long run. Stay tuned for a lot more NBA Draft coverage here on RTC this week.
  2. While on the subject of shaking hands with David Stern Thursday night, the presumptive #1 overall pick, Anthony Davis, is already making good use of his professional status. CNBC‘s Darren Rovell reported on Monday that The Unibrow has already trademarked the phrases “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow,” ensuring that you’ll see brow-related t-shirts and other New Orleans Hornets attire on Bourbon Street in very short order. Davis said, “Me and my family decided to trademark it because it’s very unique,” and well, we can’t really argue with that.
  3. While on the subject of the Wildcats, Kentucky head coach John Calipari said on Monday during an SEC teleconference that he believes the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M to the league next season will result in the strongest SEC ever. Notwithstanding this classic bit of coachspeak — and several other head men, including Alabama’s Anthony Grant and Auburn’s Tony Barbee, were equally guilty of the hyperbole — SEC basketball has a long way to go before it becomes a top-level conference again. Adding Mizzou, a basketball-centric school coming off a great season, helps; adding Texas A&M could go either way depending on how things turn out with Billy Kennedy at the helm. The problem with the SEC is that the traditional football powers (outside of Florida) have too many years where they’re simply not competitive — we’re looking at you, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee… Until a couple more programs beyond UK, UF, and Vanderbilt improve to a consistent Top 25 level, the league will remain behind the Big Ten, Big 12, the Big East (for now), and the future ACC in terms of basketball prowess.
  4. Not every amateur basketball player in America is prepping for the draft this week, although it may seem like it. At least one former collegian, FIU’s Nick Taylor, has been working out at the Minnesota Vikings mini-camp recently in an effort to earn a cornerback slot on the final 53-man roster. Taylor had a nondescript basketball career, averaging just under two points and two assists per game in three seasons with the Panthers, but the 5’9″, 165-pound waterbug who can run a sub-4.3 forty spent the last two years playing for the Fort Lauderdale Barracudas of the Stars Football League. After an All-Star year and a tryout where he exhibited his blazing speed in front of a gaggle of scouts, the Vikings signed Taylor to a non-guaranteed contract and brought him up north. He’s still a long shot to make the final roster, but Taylor is certainly undressing the concept that basketball players can only successfully transition to professional football as big and powerful tight ends.
  5. We’ll finish off with a thud, as another player nobody has ever heard of — former Baylor walk-on Richard Hurdis facing a federal extortion charge for allegedly threatening Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin, III, with “derogatory information.” We have no idea what dirt Hurd might have had (or thought he had) on the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but unless it involved murder and mayhem… OK, we’ll stop right there. The larger point is that some of these things are completely out of Baylor’s control, but is there another school in the nation that has such strangely weird criminal enterprises attach to its athletes? It’s got to be some kind of karmic influence for making Ken Starr it’s president, right? Let’s go with that.
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